EXAMINER PUBLICATIONS – OCTOBER 31, 2007
By Rich Trzupek
From: Ken Kaczyinski-President, School Board District U-46
To: School Board Members
Subject: Selecting a New Director
As you know, the school district has suffered an unfortunate run of negative publicity in recent months. There is little point in reviewing the circumstances that have lead to these attacks. We may take comfort in two things: 1) the knowledge that we have done the right thing, and 2) the fact that our students will not be affected, since few of them can read well enough to comprehend the scurrilous attacks.
It is unfortunate that Dr. Neale has chosen to resign, and even more unfortunate that we will no longer be able to pay Mary Jayne Broncato over a $1,000 per day for her services. Pat assures me that his mother will manage, though she prefers quiet seclusion for the time being.
We must move forward and the goal, as we do so, should be to find the perfect director for our school district. I doubt that we will find anyone with Dr. Neale’s skills, but it is incumbent on us to do our best.
I cannot over-emphasize the need to hire the best director we can find, no matter the cost. There is no position as important in our school district.
We all recognize, I’m sure, that a good director provides each and every one of us with cover. A minimum of two, and preferably three or four degrees, are a must. That kind of education enables a director to explain issues in the sort of unintelligible language that prevents the press and public from questioning any of our decisions. The value of this skill, to each and every member of this board, is self-apparent.
The right director will also keep the district focused on the things that matter: new programs, studies and consultants. Without these mechanisms, attention naturally drifts toward the classroom and we will be over-whelmed with annoying teacher complaints. I don’t have to tell you how distracting teachers can be.
But we all know that the right director does not come cheap. Given all of the recent bad publicity, it is prudent for us to explore ways to pay for a new director that will not enflame public opinion. This is a matter of particular importance as we continue to negotiate with the teacher’s union.
Toward that end, I would like to suggest some measures that we, as a board, might consider in order to save enough money to pay for the salary, vacation and quick retirement of our new director.
I’m sure that you will have your own ideas as well. The following is not meant to be an all-inclusive list. Think of it as a seed, planted to spur further creativity and discussion on the board. Having made that disclaimer, here are some savings opportunities we should consider:
1.) Crayons It has come to my attention that the district currently gets crayons in 64-color boxes. Many of these colors appear to be superfluous. Do children really need “green-blue” and “blue-green” for example? Or, to cite another case, I doubt that anyone would notice if “burnt orange” was no longer available. My informal survey of crayon boxes showed that the majority of “burnt orange” crayons still have sharp tips, suggesting that they are rarely used.
A carefully planned purge of our crayons, with an eye toward reducing our standard colors from 64 to 47, would yield a surplus of hundreds of crayons. The wax in those crayons could then be sold to a local petroleum refinery, yielding the district a neat profit.
2.) Naming-Rights We are leaving a huge source of income on the table by not taking advantage of naming-right sale opportunities. Corporate America, and especially the sports world, has shown how profitable naming rights sales can be.
Traditionalists will be upset of course, but I believe we can minimize the criticism by incorporating corporate names with traditional names. For example, rather than completely renaming Larkin High, why not explore a name like: Larlan High, presented by Proctor and Gamble? In some cases, a corporate sponsor may pay a premium for a name that’s an especially good fit. How about “Sunnydale Elementary, Your Home for Sunny Delight?” Or “The View Presents Eastview?” I’m sure that I’m only scratching the surface here.
3.) Rest Room Sharing As we all know, rest rooms are underutilized, particularly in the elementary and middle schools. We could easily close 50 percent of the rest rooms in these schools and designate the remainder as unisex facilities.
Not only would this cut maintenance costs, it would reduce our water usage drastically. A happy side-effect among the younger students would be to prevent frivolous trips to the rest room, since pre-teen students would naturally want to avoid the embarrassment of encountering the opposite sex in such a setting. High school students, on the other hand, would welcome these opportunities, so this solution is not recommended for grades nine through 12.
Again, these are just a few ideas. Given the talent we have on this board, I’m sure that we’ll come up with many more.
I look forward to working with you on this issue, as we work toward hiring the best director ever.